April 26

A red-letter day today.  My first English lesson went surprisingly well considering we had about ten seconds to plan it. Feruza had told us she wanted us to talk to her kids and help them with English, but as we were leaving it transpired we would be on our own with 13 Uzbek kids for two hours!  I had no idea what we were going to do, but with a stout heart Ryan and I prevailed.  Also, google helped.  It turned out to be great fun and the kids were so nice to us.  In a British school we would have been torn apart, but they were curious and eager to learn.  And they had bloody good English, Feruza had clearly been doing a good job.  When we were finishing up, one of the girls gave a small talk about Uzbekistan and then she handed me a small statue to help us remember Uzbekistan.  I’ve carried it with me all the way.

After our brief jaunt as English teachers, we went to the Chorsu Bazaar where Ryan got a new hat and we both got some handkerchiefs for the desert.  We returned to Feruza’s house where her mum made us a big pot of plov – a delicious rice dish with lamb, apricots, carrot and spices.  After we were all full of plov, literally everyone in the house went and had a nap.  I woke about two hours later to a text from Ali asking if we wanted to go to his house for dinner which I gladly accepted.

It was bucketing down with rain when we left the house, so Ali came to pick us up in his car – even though it was only 100m to his house.  The Uzbeks are such a great people.  He was a really interesting guy – his family having fled the communists in Uzbekistan to China, and then from China back to Uzbekistan when the Chinese started solidifying their power there.  He’d lived in England and the US and was a professor in the Westminster University in Tashkent. His mother made us an incredibly delicious meal of samsa, plov and cheesecake which we ate with Ali and his father  as we talked about the world.  He also had a couple of whiskies which I was more than happy to educate him about as we drank them.  By the time we’d finished our meal it was almost 11pm so we made our goodbyes and dragged our full stomachs back to Feruza’s house to fall into a deep, happy sleep. 

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